Some Thoughts to Ponder After 2012 Election
By Tom Anselm
I really wasn’t planning on writing about politics this week. You know, because maybe we all could use a break. But the thoughts banging around in my noggin were begging to find their way out.
So here is how it seems.
The Democrat Party won with a better ground game than the Republicans. That is, they most certainly got the votes where they needed them, and this was in states that were electorally rich. A look at a map of the United States that shows the “geography of the vote” indicates that it is at least 3/4ths red, or Republican.
Even the battleground states of Florida and Ohio have only pockets of blue, the symbol for the Democrat element. However, those pieces brought the winners the full complement of many states’ electoral votes. They knew where their supporters lived and how to get them to the polls.
As for the losers in this years match-up, the Republicans put forth a national candidate for President who had promise, but was hampered by what some may rightly say was his back-and-forth on key issues, not really showing who he would truly be if he got to the Big Oval-shaped Office in January. It caused many who were conservatives to give luke-warm support and independents who might have made a move to have nothing on which to hang their votes.
According to many experts who do this for a living, we may now be seeing a new paradigm of population. Power is shifting to women, younger people, and people of all colors. Also included are those supporters of gay marriage and abortion rights. Issues of perceived international weakness, unemployment at a consistently high level and a record-setting national debt just didn’t register with these groups enough to tip the scales in favor of a change in top leadership.
This may be the new demographic for the good old US of A. And the policies and philosophy of the Democrats seem to be favored as this shift takes place. So what are the other guys going to do about all this?
Two consecutive presidential losses, no gains in the Senate and an apparent loss of direction do not bode well for them. Some say they need to keep doing what they have been doing, only get better at it. Others counsel to move more to the center of the spectrum, to draw in those of the new demographic. And still others clamor for an even-stronger shift to the right. One thing is certain. To do the same thing and expect different results is a sure sign of insanity. I doubt they are insane.
We are identified as the United States of America. And we are mostly united, at least by geography. But don’t we the people seem to be more splintered and fractured than at any time since the Civil War? Isn’t ours today an ideological divide? A look at the latest totals of the popular vote indicates that Barack Obama collared some 61 million votes to nearly 58 million for Mitt Romney. So Democrats got around 50.5% and Republicans 48%. Still pretty close, and within some of those statistical margins of error we heard so much about during all the campaign polling. So I’m not so sure about calling this a mandate.
At any rate, here are some questions to ponder as we stumble into the future. Did the winning team just play better these last two times or is this a fundamentally new American electorate? Will the GOP change their game, and if so, how? Have we allowed ourselves to be manipulated by the political operatives on all sides, to be squeezed into statistical pigeonholes so as to be more effectively persuaded?
And doesn’t it seem we are being clinically categorized as a people, seen not as Americans but as, for example, “a white, male, 54-65, Catholic, retired, married, etc, etc?”
Abraham Lincoln borrowed from the Gospels when he said “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Are we now that house?
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